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Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1700 > 1790-1799 > 1793

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

A Series of Amerindian Nations

Type: Document

During the eighteenth century, the northwest Pacific coast was home to a series of Amerindian nations, including the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Nootka and Salish. These were maritime cultures - excellent sailors and fishermen who depended on the sea's resources

Site: National Defence

A Relatively Peaceful Decade

Type: Document

The decade 1783-1793 was almost peaceful in North America, compared to the previous American Revolutionary War. Both Britain and the United States disbanded the majority of their armies. Only a small British garrison stayed in North America, backed by the Royal Navy at Halifax.

Site: National Defence

The Royal Navy

Type: Document

As an island state, Britain gave priority to its navy. The Admiralty (the appointed committee of admirals which made all strategic decisions) governed hundreds of ships worldwide. The Royal Navy used its bases in Canada to help control the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Site: National Defence

The Pacific Coast

Type: Document

Along the Pacific coast, British and American interests clashed throughout the first half of the 19th century. Britain claimed the whole coast, increasing American settlement eventually lead to the Oregon crisis of 1845. This prompted the birth of a British colony on Vancouver Island.

Site: National Defence

Maritime Preparations

Type: Document

In the British Atlantic colonies, the threat of a French attack was taken very seriously in 1793. The French colony of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon were taken by the Royal Navy to deny the enemy a base, and regiments were raised to defend New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Site: National Defence

Vancouver and Bodega Y Quadra

Type: Document

Britain and Spain sent ships to Nootka in 1792 for negotiations. The captains, Vancouver and Bodega y Quadra, were unable to come to an agreement, but maintained good relations. Vancouver's survey proved there was no Northwest Passage on the British Columbia coast.

Site: National Defence

The Crossing

Type: Document

British troops crossing the Atlantic during the 18th and 19th centuries were never comfortable. Transports were very crowded, with men sleeping 4 to a bunk. If bad weather prevented exercise on deck, epidemics were a real possibility. By sail, the trip took 2 or 3 months.

Site: National Defence

Governed by the Military

Type: Document

Also in 1697, the British colony in Newfoundland began a long period where its governor would be the commander of the British Royal Navy squadron in local waters. This pattern of military government was not unusual - a similar military government was in place in Nova Scotia.

Site: National Defence

A French Squadron at New York

Type: Document

When a French fleet carrying an army arrived at New York City in 1793, there was a general mobilization throughout the British Maritime colonies. Preparations began to resist an invasion, but in the end the French general defected to the British, and the fleet returned to France in disorder.

Site: National Defence